Rash of vandalism continues in Aspen’s West End

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

Parked cars in Aspen’s West End have been taking a beating lately, Aspen police said Friday.

Officers have logged 34 incidents of vandalism on all kinds of vehicles since October, including two cars someone tried to ignite in March, numerous flat tires, scratched or “keyed” cars and broken windows and taillights, said Aspen Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn. The majority of the incidents have occurred in the West End.

However, nothing has been stolen from any of the cars that have been vandalized, he said. And generally just one car per night is vandalized, though one night five cars were hit, he said.

“It’s not really following any particular pattern,” Linn said. “That’s part of the reason we’re doing this outreach.”

The latest incident occurred Wednesday night, when someone flattened all four tires on a Honda CRV parked on Pearl Court, then scratched up numerous panels with an unknown tool, he said. The incidents have been occurring every few days, though sometimes none happen for two weeks, Linn said.

In addition, the kind of cars chosen for the vandalism follow no particular pattern.

“One of them will be a piece of junk and the next will be a brand-new Cadillac,” he said. “It’s super random. They are just all over the place.”

The first arson case was reported March 13 in the 700 block of West Bleeker Street and likely occurred the Saturday before, according to a police report. The officer who responded discovered a 2005 Ford SUV with an open gas tank door and the gas cap lying in the snow about 3 feet away, the report states.

The officer also noticed a type of cord singed into the car’s paint near the gas tank door, a burn on the driver’s side bumper and pieces of burnt cord inside the gas cap area, according to the report.

While the officer was investigating that case, a man approached him and reported a similar incident that occurred about the same time, the report states. The man’s Dodge van was parked down the street at the intersection of Bleeker and North Fifth streets and was found with the gas tank door open and the gas cap off, according to the police report.

Again, some of the cord was singed into the van’s paint and there was a burn mark near the driver’s side rear bumper. The officer also found more of the unburned cord on the ground and singe marks in a circular pattern on the pavement below the gas tank, the report states.

Sgt. Rob Fabrocini said at the time that it appeared the cord had been stuffed into the gas-nozzle opening in both cases.

The Police Department is asking anyone who knows anything about the vandalism or sees anything suspicious to call 970-920-5400 at any time to report it.